Sunday, October 9, 2011

# 43, 44, 45 and 46 - Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras by Scott Westerfeld

I read the series in the course of 2 days, when I was taking my MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education), that's two 9-hour days of lectures which are supposedly updates, but really was more like a review. I am not ashamed to admit that I love YA, and I am very proud that I like sci-fi. I was not initially drawn to these books which were ubiquitous in out local bookstore chain. I just seemed too glossy, like Gossip Girls or Vampire Diaries, only with extra sci-fi. But., I read a lot of positive reviews so I decided to try it out.

One thing I will say, it is definitely a fast read, and a compulsive one. Or maybe I was really bored in the aforementioned 2 9-hour days. Well, anyway, I did finish it in 18 hours, more or less, so that's something.

The story was interesting, but also a bit implausible (yes, I know it's sci fi). So in the far future, humanity has retreated to enclosed (but not, like, heavily guarded. or is it?) cities where everyone is turned pretty on their 16th birthday. At least, that's the case in the city our heroine, Tally Youngblood lives. She is a normal teenager, feeling grossly ugly and super excited to turn pretty. But things get interesting when she meets a rebellious friend and learns that there is a different life outside of the city walls and that turning pretty might not just be a physical thing. The first three books focus on Tally's story of being an ugly, turning pretty, and then becoming special. The fourth volume, extras, is a stand-along story with new characters and Tally and the gang showing up in the middle of the book.

Did I like it? It was ok. Not so much. It was a bit too YA for me. Although it dealt with issues which are good to think over and discuss with kids, it was too obvious for me. Like, kids, you are beautiful just the way you are! Kids, what is peace without freedom?! And everything was too pat sometimes. And as I said, I found the premise itself a bit unbelievable, as in, I cannot believe that that is one of the possible roads humanity might be taking. Extras, is a little more based on the present world where worth is ranked through how popular one is, and everyone is followed around by their own personal news feed. Sounds more like the present, yeah?

I got interested though, in the mythology of how the world got to be the way it was. I enjoy the big picture much better that the interpersonal drama of the characters.

All in all, it was ok. I didn't hate it. Just a normal YA book. Maybe I was spoiled on amazing YA that a pretty good one seems just ok to me. Or maybe I'm too old for this shit.

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